How to properly grip a golf club, according to a major champion

Padraig Harrington won three major titles in his career.

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Welcome to Play Smart, a regular game-improvement column that will help you play smarter, better golf.

Fundamentals are the key to a solid golf swing. The foundations built by solid fundamentals are what allow you to make proper swings and improve as a player. If you take shortcuts when it comes to the basics, you’ll never master the advanced elements, either.

One such fundamental — and perhaps the most important — is how you grip the club. Yes, holding the club might seem rudimentary, but it’s crucial to do well if you want to become an elite player. Your grip is what connects you to the clubface, and you need it to be spot on if you want maximum control.

Practicing the proper grip is extremely easy compared to practicing other fundamentals. All you need is a golf club and you can practice just about anywhere — even sitting on your couch.

For more help with how to properly grip the golf club, we turn to three-time major champion Padraig Harrington.

“Make sure you have plenty of mobility,” Harrington says. “That’s all we’re looking for in a grip. We’re looking for the ability to lift the club up and down and to move it side to side.”

A proper grip is more in the fingers than people would think, according to Harrington. Lots of people grip the club in the palm of the hand, but it’s actually more beneficial to grip it in the fingers. When the club is gripped in the palm, it gives you less mobility of the club in your hands.

When you look down at your left hand on the grip, you want to see about two knuckles. There is some room for interpretation here, as some players need a weaker or stronger grip, but two knuckles is a good starting place.

“That’s not so important,” Harrington says. “It’s what feels comfortable. The main thing is your fingers have got it so you have flexibility in your wrist.”

When you place your right hand on the grip, you once again want to hold the club in your fingers. Next, use the crease in your right hand as a reference point and press it onto your left thumb on the grip. The, wrap your fingers around the grip.

“You can learn that grip in any book,” Harrington says. “But you’ve got to do a little work to get that grip all in those fingers.”

If you can master a neutral grip, you’ll be well on your way to a solid foundation needed for a proper golf swing.

Zephyr Melton Editor

Zephyr Melton is an assistant editor for where he spends his days blogging, producing and editing. Prior to joining the team at GOLF, he attended the University of Texas followed by stops with the Texas Golf Association, Team USA, the Green Bay Packers and the PGA Tour. He assists on all things instruction and covers amateur and women’s golf. He can be reached at